Let's set one thing straight. It doesn't matter if Artis Gilmore, the ABA's best center, is better than towering Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, because the best center in basketball happens to have red hair, wear a green and white uniform and be on the best team in the NBA—the Boston Celtics.
I think you failed to give proper credit to the performance of the Cleveland Cavaliers in their playoff series against Washington. Cleveland outplayed the Bullets head-to-head during the regular season, and it was the team's tenacious defense, not a "slide" by the Bullets, that shut off the vaunted Washington fast break in the playoffs.
As for the Cavaliers being "less talented" than Washington, I am sure that K. C. Jones could tell you which was the superior team.
I read with dismay Dan Jenkins' account of the Dallas- St. Louis game (Can't Anybody Catch the Football? Oct. 25). Jenkins failed to mention that "the recently lamented Cardinal defense" sacked Roger Staubach four times. If Jenkins had studied earlier Cardinal games as well as he studied the Cowboys' previous games, he would have noted that this was the finest offensive and defensive effort by the Big Red this year, not just a case of Dallas errors. It's a shame Jenkins cannot admit that the Cardinals are one of the better teams in the NFL. They have won the Eastern Division title over the Cowboys the last two years, and that was not because the Cowboys wore their unlucky blue jerseys.
If Dan Jenkins wants to talk about "ifs," how about including the Cardinals? If Mel Gray had not stepped out of bounds after receiving a Jim Hart pass, he would have had clear sailing for a touchdown. If Ike Harris had not dropped a pass in the first half after having beaten the defender, the Cards would have had another six points. And if Hart had not thrown two interceptions in or near the end zone, there would have been still more points for the Cardinals.
The Cowboys were outplayed and out-scored by the Cardinals 21-17.
FRANK T. DELURGIO
Congratulations on the terrific article on University of Wyoming football (Seldom Is Heard a Discouraging Word, Oct. 25). John Underwood captured the gusto of the state's inhabitants and their devotion to Cowboy football. It is interesting to note that despite the "Black 14" incident, the seven years of drought, etc., two graduates of the 1975 team (2-9) were first-round NFL picks: Lawrence Gaines ( Detroit) and Aaron Kyle ( Dallas). Truest of all is that we who have been residents of Wyoming and graduates of UW will always cherish the experience.
Webster City, Iowa
Have you noted the fact that 1976 was the Year of the Third Baseman? How often has it happened that players at one position (especially infielders) have won both major league batting titles and both home-run crowns, as did George Brett, Bill Madlock, Graig Nettles and Mike Schmidt? What is ironic is that perhaps the game's best overall third baseman, Pete Rose of the Reds, is not on this select list.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
I don't know how many people have noticed this, but the Yankees' victory over the Royals in the American League playoff marked the first time since the current playoff system was established in 1969 that the team that won the second game of the playoff went on to lose the pennant.
MARK A. BRADLEY
John Nielsen's article Ditching the Dream (Oct. 25) really opened the door to the sport of ballooning. For the first time I read of the complexities of ballooning, as well as of the knowledge required of one attempting a major balloon flight. As far as I'm concerned, Ed Yost made a gallant effort, and SI gave him the attention he deserved.
EDWARD W. HOLLEMAN
Santa Clara, Calif.